LEEDS CITY MAGAZINE CHAT WITH ENTREPRENEURIAL WOMEN, JULIE AND CAROLINE FROM SOCIAL LIFE UK
Julie (Left) Caroline (Right)
What is your current role and what does it entail?
I’m Julie and the Founder and one of the Hosting team at SocialLifeUk. We are a socialising site, based in Leeds and we absolutely love the bars, restaurants, pubs and cultural attractions the City
and surrounding areas offers. At SocialLifeUk, we have four key hosts and what we do is plan and organise social events so people can join, meet new people and start making new friendships. We currently have over 1200 members and put on social events such as Bar Crawls, Sunday Lunches, Midweek Drinks, Cultural events, Ale Trails and Singles Nights. Our Singles Nights are the most popular event and our key Host – Caroline runs these.
Can you explain how you started the business and tell us what gave you the courage to get this off the ground?
We’ve always loved and believed in the concept of social networking and that’s how we all met – years ago! Leeds is booming, and new bars and restaurants are opening all the time, so it made sense to create a new, vibrant, proactive socialising group to get people together and experience these venues regularly.
In July 2017 I wrote a business plan which included the business name (SocialLifeUk), logo, colour theme, type of socials we wanted to run and more importantly, who would Host for us. Our key hosts are Caroline, Richard, Lloyd and myself and we all met on socialising sites years ago. Not only are we all good friends, but we also have a lot of experience in what social events work and how to involve people.
Once our plan was in place we registered the company, opened a business account, designed branded materials and started the process of working with web developers to create a bespoke website (which we are just about to launch). We also wanted to ensure SocialLifeUk had a presence across social media such as Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram/ tumblr/ Pintrest which means we could attract more followers and engage with our Members. More importantly it also means that people new to Socialising groups can see blogs, photos, check ins and see for themselves what we are about.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your job?
Everyday we see more and more people join our group and that motivates us to put on even more social events. We are getting fantastic attendance at our events which means our Members get to meet even more new people. To give you an example, at our “Valentines for Singles” night (which was actually on 14th February 2018) we had 50 people attend! We also held a bar crawl at the end of February and 36 came along. Its fun and we not only get the chance to meet new people, but we also form good friendships with the people in SocialLifeUk.
What is the most popular social event you run?
Bar Crawls and Singles Nights are by far our most popular socials! Caroline in particular is passionate about developing our Singles Nights further! The majority of people in our group are Single, so we asked ourselves where do you meet other singles if not via work, via other friends or on dating sites? We know from chatting to others that people can become disillusioned with dating sites or their own friendship circle is full of couples, so we decided to run events where people could come along and meet in a reserved area (organised by us), have a warm and friendly welcome from our Hosts, receive a complimentary drink and get introductions to others throughout the night. The idea is Singles are meeting other singles in a natural environment, knowing who they are meeting and having the security of hosts being there so they’ve someone to chat to until they’ve settle in.We understand that even socially confident people can feel apprehensive and nervous at first, so we try to make it as easy and stress free as possible. As from April, Caroline has introduced “Ladies only time” for the firsthour and a half at our Singles Nights. This proved popular when we trialled this previously, as it means the Ladies can meet us in our reserved area, have a glass of fizz, get to know each other and then wait for the Guys to arrive.
Since running the group, we have seen a new relationship form and we’ve also seen how much the group has bonded. We often get asked about the “age range” of our group and the answer is simple – there isn’t one. We welcome all ages, nationalities and genders. Our youngest Member is 24 and our eldest is 70.
For any women just starting in business what advice would you give them?
Know the potential demand for the product/ service you want to offer and be aware of your competitors and where the gaps and opportunities are.
Write a plan: What it is you are offering: What it does and how it works: How people will access and use it: Choose a name, logo, strapline: Create social media pages to attract followers which will help signpost your product or service: Have a budget, a pricing structure and a plan of how you will achieve your ROI (return on investment): Involve and work with others, share ideas and have a can-do attitude: Follow your gut instinct – it’s usually rig
ht! Be aware that your plan and strategy may need to change and adapt as you progress and overcome hurdles.
Thank you Julie and Caroline,
if anyone would like to get involved with SocialLifeUK what is the best thing to do?
Register on our website www.sociallifeuk.com and follow us on social media. We’ve ensured we have presence on numerous social media channels to ensure we are as responsive and accessible as possible –
• facebook.com/ singlesandsocialising